The German Apprenticeship model – Investing in the future
Many of our readers already know that KEB America is a subsidiary of KEB Automation KG headquartered in Barntrup, Germany. We take pride in bringing quality German engineering to American customers, assembled and serviced locally by our office in Shakopee, Minnesota.
In addition to KEB America, KEB has offices across the globe. One thing we love to do is take a peek at what each division comes up with on social media, in marketing, and in advertising. We all speak for industrial automation and future innovation through our unique cultural filters and lenses. One of the interesting cultural experiences we’ve recently been given a glimpse into is that of Germany’s Vocational Education and Training (V.E.T.) system.
One of the interesting cultural experiences we’ve recently been given a glimpse into is that of Germany’s Vocational Education and Training (V.E.T.) system.”
KEB headquarters in Barntrup has an Instagram account run by their current class of apprentices. These students have been posting fun and informative photos of their experiences with the KEB academic studies program as they prepare for a career in manufacturing and engineering.
Many people in the United States are probably unfamiliar with how apprenticeships work on Germany. The V.E.T. system places students on a dual academic track – simultaneously studying their preferred disciplines while working in the real world. As they work towards a degree they are gaining experience and making connections that mirror what a young adult in the United States would be gaining their first three or four years after college.
Andy Delius – CEO here at KEB America – is familiar with the education model these apprentices take. He notes that for some teens their career path can start as early as age 16.
“Many are finding they can do it without that 12-year degree (high-school diploma),” he said.
A student may feel that after 10 years of education they are ready to explore a profession or trade and apprenticeships help facilitate that. He goes on to explain that the model also gives young people more time to explore their options. A student may decide at age 16 to pursue mechanics, but later find they are better suited to business administration. Because they’re still young and building their foundation in life they are able to change career tracks with minimal risk.
The investment of time and personnel into developing the curriculum demonstrates KEB’s commitment to providing education and employment to the next generation of skilled professionals. Currently, KEB offers academic studies in the areas of electronics, robotics, mechanical engineering, production, business administration, information systems and information technology. Students work on their classroom curriculum as well as real-world tasks in the KEB offices.
The dual education system is not entirely unique to Germany. It can also be found in South Korea, Austria, and Switzerland. However, nothing quite like it exists in the United States higher education system. For now, anyway.
At KEB America we frequently work with interns in several of our departments…”
At KEB America we frequently work with interns in several of our departments, but the length of the program is shorter than in Germany and is done at a later point in the education timeline. This is typical of the education model we use in the United States, and it is our goal to create programs that prepare students to enter the workforce.
At KEB we want to be an active participant in making sure the next generation is ready to fill the jobs we will need. Some of these jobs are newly invented, some have changed, and yes, some jobs that may have existed even five years ago are no longer done by human hands. We know the best way to ensure we continue to create the best automation tools while also positively influencing our community is to reach out to educators and future generations. We want to let them know what challenges we’re facing and how they can help.
To that end, KEB America is hoping to continue working with students at all levels of education in our area. Currently, our internship programs are focused on college-age upperclassmen, but in coming years we hope to expand our opportunities to younger students, high schoolers, and even find ways to share our knowledge with children k-12. We’re examining models beyond the traditional education path. KEB is prepared to be a leader not only in automation and control technology, but in shaping the skilled workforce of the future.
Currently our internship programs are focused on college age upperclassmen, but in coming years we hope to expand our opportunities to younger students”
STEM has become an important focus for educators. KEB America and companies like us are a key part of communicating the needs of the future so the next generation will be able to find jobs, and build the best world for themselves, and the generations to come.
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